Sunday, 31 January 2010

Organic food on menu for CWG participants

Athletes, officials and all others dignitaries taking part in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be served 'Safe Food' - fruits and vegetables that are free of pesticides or insecticides. The vegetables and fruits are expected to be of supreme quality, rich in nutrients and taste good.

The Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) on Pusa Road is spearheading the initiative to produce organic food grown using a specialized technique.

"We are adopting 'Safe Food' technique to grow vegetables and fruits to ensure they are senior scientist at the institute.

Almost 8000 participant and one lakh people are expected to visit Delhi during the Commonwealth Games in October. The institute has the quantity in mind while planning the cultivation.

"According to our estimates, the daily consumption of vegetables will be 600 to 1,000 quintals and the daily consumption of fruits will be around 500 quintals," he added.

He said as foreigners preferred salads, there was a focus on cultivating some special varieties of salad vegetables, such as carrot, radish, baby corn, sweet corn, mushroom, beans, leafy vegetables, cucumber, potato, turnip, onion and ginger.

The specially grown fruits will include papaya, banana, guava and grapes.

The fruits and vegetables will be ready for consumption from June and will continue till the end of October. IARI's target is of an average 300 grams of vegetables per person per day.

For this, special field training is being imparted to farmers across the country.

The expert said normally grown vegetables may have arsenic content. Under the new system, the land for cultivation will be chosen carefully. It will be enriched with manure, not fertilisers. Care will be taken to provide the right moisture and temperature.

However, if need for pesticides arises, only organic substances such as neem seeds, neem leaves or neem oil will be used.

Methods such as light trap - in which pesticides are trapped with mercury lights - and pheromone trap, in which female insects are captured so that they do not multiply, will be used.

Commonwealth Games 2010 schedule

Delhi will play host to around 8,000 participants during 2010 Commonwealth Games. The CWG2010 are scheduled from 3-Oct till 14-Oct.

Commonwealth Games will have 17 events. A detailed schedule (Click here to see schedule in table format) for the games is as follows:

Opening Ceremony:
Date: 03-Oct-2010
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Event: Aquatics:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: SPM Swimming Pool Complex

Event: Archery:
Schedule: TBD
Venue: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex and India Gate lawns

Event: Athletics:
Schedule: 06-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Event: Badminton:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Siri Fort Sports Complex

Event: Boxing:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 12-Oct-2010
Venue: Talkatora Indoor Stadium

Event: Cycling:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 07-Oct-2010, 09-Oct-2010 and 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex

Event: Gymnastics:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 09-Oct-2010, 10-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex

Event: Hockey:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Maj. Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium

Event: Lawn Bowls:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 12-Oct-2010
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Event: Net Ball:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Thyagaraj Sports complex

Event: Rugby 7's:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 06-Oct-2010
Venue: Delhi University

Event: Shooting:
Schedule: 05-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range

Event: Squash:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Siri Fort Sports Complex

Event: Table Tennis:
Schedule: 04-Oct-2010 till 13-Oct-2010
Venue: Yamuna Sports Complex

Event: Tennis:
Schedule: TBD

Venue: RK Tennis Stadium

Event: Weightlifting:
Schedule: 05-Oct-2010 till 12-Oct-2010
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Event: Wrestling:
Schedule: 05-Oct-2010 till 08-Oct-2010
Venue: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex


Event: Closing ceremony:
Date: 14-Oct-2010
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium


CW Games security: 550 CCTV cameras at Delhi airport

Keeping in mind the security needs of Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Police is planning to install 37 more CCTVs at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here to ensure better monitoring of the facility as well as its periphery.

With this, the total number of CCTVs in the IGI will rise to 559. The domestic terminal of the IGI presently has 325 CCTVs while the international terminal has 197 - both on the city side and and air side.

"At the initiative of airport police and DIAL, the operator of Delhi airport, a network of CCTVs are installed in the airport. Thirty-seven more CCTVs are to be installed soon," a senior police official said.

These CCTVs are likely to monitor the periphery of the airport, the official said.

CWG security: Delhi Police to induct additional 2,000 vehicles

Delhi Police will hire over 2,000 vehicles during the Commonwealth Games for various jobs like escorting sportsmen and deploying Quick Response Teams. The vehicles will include 1,200 cars/SUVs/MUVs and 630 buses.

Plans are also being made to hire drivers for running these vehicles - around 1,200 cars and multi-utility vehicles, 630 buses and 215 light commercial vehicles like Tata 407 - during the Games to be held in October this year.

The vehicles are being hired will be used in deploying QRTs (Quick Response Teams), escorting sportsmen to their venues and back to the Games village and for deployment of personnel for law and order duties, a senior police official said.

Around 750 to 1,000 ambassador cars and multi-utility vehicles along with drivers are being hired for escorting sportspersons and for deployment of QRTs for a period of 20 to 25 days.

"No vehicle supplied should be more than two years old and their mileage should be less than 60,000 km. The colour of the car should be white only," the official said.

Another 250 cars with drivers will rent by police for other uses during the Games.

Police are also planning to hire 630 buses and 215 Light Commercial Vehicles with drivers for deploying security personnel and for law and order arrangements.

"The vehicles will be hired for a period of one month from September 15," the official said.

"No vehicle will be accepted for hire unless and until the character and antecedents of the owners, the drivers and the suppliers have been verified from security angle," the official said.

"The drivers must be smartly turned out while on duty and must possess valid commercial driving licence," he said.

The contractor will have to provide at least three extra drivers for every 25 vehicles daily, he said.

Queen's baton reaches Namibia

Namibia was under spotlight on Friday when the Queen’s Baton, to promote the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, arrived in Windhoek.

The Namibian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) formed part of a worldwide relay which started at Buckingham Palace on March 8, and is scheduled to reach its conclusion on October 3, when the Queen’s Baton will arrive in New Delhi. Queen's message will be read to the athletes during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

In total, the Queen’s Baton will cover a distance of 190,000km over a period of 340 days, making it one of the longest relays in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

Prime Minister Nahas Angula received the Queen’s Baton from Namibia’s WBA world champion Paulus “The Hitman” Moses on Friday morning, at his office in parliament where he proceeded to read a message on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

“The baton’s journey symbolises the harmony and shared ideals of the Commonwealth nations, and will provide an opportunity for the entire Commonwealth to share in the excitement of the 19th Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“With the baton’s exposure through interactive internet technologies and the media attention it will generate, the Namibian leg of the relay has the potential to be watched by millions of people from all over the world. Therefore, our involvement in this exciting event provides us with the opportunity to showcase our country to the rest of the world,” he added.

Pohamba expressed the hope that the arrival of the Queen’s Baton would be a major source of inspiration and encouragement for Namibia’s athletes, as they intensify their training in preparation for the Games.

“I wish to reassure all our athletes that they have the support of the Namibian government in the upcoming New Delhi Games and I encourage all Namibians to rally behind the Namibian team to New Delhi and render them the necessary support to ensure their successful participation in the Games,” he added.

Pohamba also called on Namibia’s coaches and officials to continue preparing so that Namibia could send a strong team in order to bring home ‘many medals.’

Angula then handed the baton over to India’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Tsewang Topden, ‘as a token of our appreciation for the wonderful hospitality that our team will receive in that beautiful country.’

Topden, in turn, handed the baton over to former Namibian athlete, Agnes Samaria, who won a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, before the relay continued.

The baton was also received by the mayor of Windhoek, Matthew Shikongo at the Municipality headquarters, after which it winded its way down Independence Avenue in the city centre. Athletes from various sporting codes such as cycling, wrestling, hockey and swimming, as well as representatives of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, the Namibia School Sport Union, Special Olympics Namibia and the City Police all participated in the relay before it eventually reached the UN Plaza in Katutura.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Commonwealth Games shooting range to open on 31-Jan

Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports informed that Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Commonwealth Games Venue for shooting competitions, is set to open in the Capital on Sunday 31st January 2010.

Dr. M.S.Gill, Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, will dedicate the up graded and renovated shooting ranges to the nation.

Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range at Suraj Kund Road, New Delhi was built for 9th Asian Games 1982. The Range was named in the honor of Maharaja of erstwhile princely state of Bikaner, Dr Karni Singh who has been a legendary shooter in the Indian shooting circuit. A prodigy in shooting, Maharaja Karni Singh was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna award in 1961 for his impeccable shooting skills. He was also conferred with a silver medal at the 38th World Shooting Championship in 1962.

The construction work at the Range was started in October 2008 with a financial projection of Rs. 150 Crore and is completed in 14 months. All existing structures were demolished and completely new ranges with state-of-the-art technology have been constructed

FACILITIES CREATED AT NEW SHOOTING RANGE
  • 10 M Centrally Air-conditioned indoor shooting range with 80 shooting points; seating capacity of 500 for pistol and small bore rifle.
  • 25 M range with 50 shooting points for pistol ; seating capacity of 500.
  • 50 M range, which is the largest, with 80 shooting points; seating capacity for 500.
  • Six composite shotgun ranges for Trap & Skeet; total seating capacity of 2000.
  • Newly constructed air-conditioned armory building; fitted with secured doors and other equipment for storing arms and ammunition.
  • Shooting points equipped with LCD displays which will flash the scores
  • State of the art Electronic Target & Scoring system supplied by Suis Ascor for rifle and pistol ranges and Laporte for trap & skeet ranges.
The newly built Range now provides a world-class sport venue for the Commonwealth Games Shooting competition, to be held in Delhi in October 2010 as it meets the requirement of Commonwealth Games Federation and the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF). The venue shall leave a legacy that provides a first class sporting venue for the citizens of our country participating in sport at local, national & International level. Before the main Commonwealth Games in October 2010, Commonwealth Shooting Championship will be held at these ranges from 17th Feb to 28th Feb 2010.

FEATURES OF NEW SHOOTING RANGE
  • Green Campus spread over a vast area of 72 acres in the backdrop of Adilabad Fort.
  • FOP (Field of play) of T & S ranges to have a backdrop of a majestic fort (Adilabad fort)
  • All the ranges are equipped with lighting facility to provide 2200 Lux of light for high definition TV coverage.
  • Minimum hard pavement provided to allow Maximum greenery. Over 1000 new trees planted.
  • Building & structures complying with the requirements of International Sports Association in terms of geometry & strength.
  • Seating design to achieve optimum sight lines.
  • Automatic electronic scoring target systems recognized by ISSF for Olympics, World Cup & World Championship.
  • Use of special Rubber wood in bullet catchers.
  • Air-conditioned lounges of all ranges.
  • Energy saving VRV system for air-conditioning.
  • Use of natural lighting with heat resistant glazing system.
  • Electricity through two different grids with 100% power back-up.
  • External development in conformity with local undulating terrain.

CWG Volunteer quota for Delhi colleges and universities

Commonwealth Organizing committee has come out with volunteer selection process for Delhi Common Wealth Games (CWG 2010). Currently, volunteer registration is open and about 10,000 students have already enrolled for the program.

Frequently asked questions about Commonwealth Games volunteer registration.

Approximately 18,000 volunteers are required from various colleges and universities for 2010 Common Wealth Games. Additional 2000 volunteers will be recruited from various other applicants from other states and universities.

Commonwealth Games volunteer registration
The CWG OC committee has published the quota of volunteers from various colleges. According to this quota, the Common Wealth Games committee intends to recruit volunteers from University of Delhi (DU), Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University (IP University), Delhi Technology University (DTU) previously known as Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), Netaji Subhash Institue of Technology (NSIT) and Indian Institute of technology (IIT).

Click here to read more about Commonwealth Games Volunteer program.

Commonwealth Games Wrestling arena inaugurated

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and IOA president Suresh Kalmadi today unveiled the first wrestling venue for this year's Commonwealth Games at the Ludlow Castle school here, and assured that the other work for the October 3-14 mega event would come up well before the time.

"We have completed the work for this stadium before time, the last venue decided for the games became the one to be fully prepared," Ms Dikshit said at the inauguration of the Ludlow Castle wrestling training venue.

"I congratulate Arora constructions for their superb work and made it possible on a short span. I am sure everything will be in place in time and I can ensure that the other venues will come up well before the games start." she told mediapersons.

India came under severe criticism after construction of several venues, including the athletes' village, fell behind schedule, forcing the postponement or shifting of many international meets planned as test events.

The Chief Minister admitted that completing the rest of the work in such a short period of time would be a tough job. "Now only eight months are left and we need to complete so much work, it would be tough."

The CWG Organising Committee chief further claimed that Delhi will host the Games more successfully than Manchester and Melbourne. "The Delhi Games would be better than Melbourne (2006) and Manchester (2002)."

The under-fire Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President, who has faced all-round criticism for delays in construction work at the Games' venues, said the success of the event would also reflect in India's performance. ''The success will help Delhi become a tourist attraction.'' He futher urged Delhiites to follow traffic rules so that the participants coming from abroad should not have bad impression about the capital city.

There is an athlete lounge, change rooms, sports equipments room, medical and physiotherapy, fitness and gym, cafeteria, conference room at ground floor of the Ludlow Castle wrestling venue.

In the first floor, there is a maple wood sports flooring to accomodate six wrestling mats (12X12m each). The building is centrally air conditioned. Elevated at a cost of Rs 13 crore is an amalgamation of granite and fabricated steel, the venue conforms to international standard.

PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, Education and Transport Minister Arvinder Singh and MLA Prahlad Singh Sahni were among others present in the occasion.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Feb-10: Last day for Blueline buses in South Delhi

No Bluelines will be allowed to ply in South Delhi from 10-Feb this year. About 32 routes are being removed and replaced by new Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.

As per the plan, about 210 buses plying on the south Delhi routes will only have DTC buses running on them. These are the operational routes which form part of the first cluster created for the Blueline corporatization scheme, which operate in south Delhi including the pilot Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor on which Bluelines were barred last year.

The routes where blueline buses will stop operating include 411, 416, 417, 419, 423A, 427, 440, 446, 462, 463, 469, 521, 522A, 534, 526, 450, 56, 66, 602, 604, 605, 606, 610, 616, 620, 615, 641, 632, 666, 430, 581 and 571.

The transport department has already issued notices to owners of Bluelines which will be more than 10 years old as on June 30 this year. About 264 buses which fall under this category will be removed from Delhi roads in the next month. "The notices to vacate routes have already been issued to the operators. All these buses will be phased out now," said a senior official.

When the phase-out from south Delhi happens, operators running buses which are less than 10 years old will be given some of the routes on which the older, phased-out buses were operating. The allocation will reportedly happen on a first come first serve basis. The shortfall, if any, will be met with the new low floor DTC buses which are being delivered every month now.

The department had initiated a similar phase-out of Bluelines from Noida in December last year and about 251 buses plying in the sub-city were put off the roads. To meet the commuting needs of people, DTC deployed about 200 additional buses on the 32 routes to Noida.

SAF games kicks off in Bangladesh

The 11th South Asian Games kicks off Friday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opening the greatest sporting extravaganza of the region releasing pigeons, the symbol of peace.

“The 11th South Asian Games is opened,” she said while colourful balloons swarmed the skyline of the Bangabandhu National Stadium in seconds to mark the announcement.

(Click here to see Final SAF Games medal tally)

In brief inaugural comments, she said Bangladesh was proud to host the South Asia’s biggest sports event while she welcomed the players.

Bangladesh commandeered the South Asian Nation stage Friday celebrating its third-time role as host with a stunning display of pageantry and pyrotechnics to unrivaled in the games’ history at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS).

The country welcomed scores of South Asian and Asian sports dignitaries to an opening ceremony watched by nearly 25,000 people at the eye-catching National Stadium and a potential audience of half a billion in the South Asia region. It was depicted as the largest, costliest extravaganza in SA Games history.

The parade of athletes concluded with the entry of the 453-strong Bangladesh team, led by flag-bearer former ace shooter, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Asif Hossain Khan.

The opening of the 12-day event was preceded by hoisting of national flags of eight participating nations at the SAARC Fountain on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue at Karwan Bazaar.

As part of the ceremony the SA Games Torch went around the stadium as it was carried by 1971 Liberation War veterans and a number of sport stars and eventually installed on a makeshift stand by president of Bangladesh Football Federation Kazi Salahuddin.

Bangladesh is hosting the meet for the third time after staging it in 1985 and 1993 when the Games were formerly known as South Asian Federation (SAF) Games while the symbol of this year’s games is “Kutum” (relative).

The extravaganza is likely to be the largest sporting event in Bangladesh as well as South Asia, while it could only be eclipsed by the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi of India.

Bangladesh has enrolled a contingent of 453 members in the Games which is the highest. Surprisingly Nepal has inserted the second highest number of 430 participants ahead of India who has included 423 in their contingent.

The number of Sri Lankan contingent is 419 while Pakistan contingent contains 388. Afghanistan has a contingent of 176 and the number of Maldives contingent is 155. Himalayan kingdom Bhutan has the lowest number of athletes in their contingent numbering only 67.

Nearly 1,800 athletes from eight countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – joined the games considered “South Asian Olympic” to compete in 23 disciplines, which offer 158 gold medals.

The 23 official sports for the 11th SAF Games: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Cycling, Football, Golf, Hockey, Handball, Judo, Kabaddi, Karate, Shooting, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling and Wushu.

Archives: August 2009

Click here for list of articles published in November 2009.

Click here for list of articles published in December 2009.

Archives: September 2009


Arms import norms relaxed for shooters

In what would come as a major boost for the country's top shooters preparing for this year's Commonwealth Games, the Sports Ministry has "liberalised" provisions for the import of weapons and cartridges for their training.

"The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has liberalised and rationalised procedures for import of weapons and ammunition and resale of used weapons by renowned shooters," the ministry said in a statement.

"A Committee under Joint Secretary (Sports) examined the existing procedures and decided to liberalise them. The orders to this effect has been issued by the Ministry, yesterday."

Under the new guidelines, the No Objection Certificates required for an import license and the Custom Duty Exemption Certificates will no longer have to routed through the ministry.

Delhi facing shortage of masseurs

Facing a major shortage of professional masseurs to cater to sportspersons during the Commonwealth Games scheduled here this October, authorities are now looking for foreign experts and also trying to bring in masseurs from other states.

Approximately 400-500 masseurs are required during Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), the 19th edition of these games, will be held from Oct 3 to 14. Thousands of athletes are expected to take part in the event.

"We need properly trained and well qualified masseurs to provide support to sportspersons taking part in the Games. But there is a serious shortage of them," said an official of the Delhi government's health department.

"We are in the process of identifying and shortlisting masseurs. Once that is done, further training would be imparted to them by experts," the official added.

"It is a little difficult to find well-trained masseurs as a lot of them are employed with private massage parlours. A number of them may be busy serving tourists during that period and this has led to increase in their demand," he added.

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee spokesperson Lalit Bhanot also said: "Yes, there is a shortage of masseurs. We are trying to arrange masseurs from treatment centres in West Bengal and Kerala."

"We are also trying to bring in foreign experts. They will be in the city during the games and would train the selected masseurs here"

"The health department is considering training the masseurs in foot massage, Ayurvedic massage, Panchakarma, oil massage and other types of massages. The health department along with the Games organising committee is likely to jointly bear the expenditure of their training."

Hospitality industry is also a shortage of trained personal to cater to the tourists.

The health department official refused to say by when the masseurs would be trained or ready or how they would be recruited.

Besides the professionally trained masseurs, the city and the nearby areas have a number of traditional masseurs, who are generally untrained, but quite popular among tourists. But experts have warned against employing any untrained masseurs.

No traditional masseur can be taken just like this. Masseurs need to be very technically sound and they need to understand human anatomy well. They need to be professionally trained as wrong massage can even lead to injuries to sportsperson.

ITDC's preparations for Commonwealth Games

The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the official hospitality partner for the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2010, is all set to make the much awaited sports extravaganza, the most memorable experience for the global tourists. From re-designing the hotel interiors, to impart training to support staff and hiring volunteers, ITDC is undertaking massive preparations for this mammoth event.

To start off, Hotel Ashok-the pioneers in the Indian luxury hotel industry has been designated as the official “Games Family Hotel” and has undertaken extensive renovation. From interiors to furnishings to upholstery every thing has been revamped. Keeping the Indian tradition in mind, the hotel now boasts of Indian extravagance combined with the minimalistic European feel. The entire renovation took place within a stipulated period of five months with a budget of Rs 146 crores. In addition to the renovation at The Ashok, ITDC is also conducting training for support staff such as drivers, taxi drivers and dhabawallas to make them efficient to handle international clientele.

ITDC will also hire 700 students from the top 10 colleges in Delhi and other hospitality institutes in India. These students will be designated as “Hospitality Executives” and will act as volunteers at different venues. In order to promote night tourism in Delhi, ITDC is further undertaking the task of lighting major monuments in Delhi so that tourists can visit these monuments in their fully lit view.

“The entire makeover and other initiatives undertaken by ITDC will give a magnificent international touch both in terms of appearance, services and comfort and ensures that the visit turns to be a truly pleasurable and enriching experience for visitors during CWG-2010,” said an official spokesperson from ITDC

Delhi govt splurging on Commonwealth Games

The Delhi Government on Thursday took the bold step and decided to enhance its Plan outlay from Rs.10,000 crore to Rs.11,300 crore for 2010 Commonwealth Games. This is an increase of about US $300 million.

In revised estimates for the current financial year 2009-10 whereas the total budgetary provision for the current year has now been increased by Rs.2,717 crore from Rs.23,043 crore to Rs.25,760 crore.

This has ostensibly been done to ensure timely completion of all Commonwealth Games-related projects and to overcome any shortage of funds.

The decision to increase the outlay was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and attended by Finance Minister A. K. Walia, Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, Principal Secretary (Finance) J.P. Singh and other senior officers of the Finance and Planning Departments.

Briefing the media, Dr. Walia said an amount of Rs.800 crore has been increased under the head of roads and bridges and it would be utilised for construction of flyovers and bridges and widening and improvement of roads, particularly those related to the Games.

The Minister said apart from enhancing its Plan outlay by Rs.1,300 crore from Rs.10,000 crore to Rs.11,300 crore in revised estimates for 2009-10, the Government has also increased its non-Plan outlay by Rs.1,408 crore.

With another Rs.9 crore being increased for the Centrally-sponsored projects, he said the total budgetary provision for the current year will go up by Rs.2,717 crore from Rs.23,043 crore to Rs.25,760 crore.

The Rs.1,300-crore increase in Plan outlay would be utilised for putting more money into the hands of the civic agencies and departments.

The Plan outlay for the Public Works Department has been increased from Rs.1,471 crore to Rs.1,975 crore and for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from Rs.345 crore to Rs.635 crore.

The allocation for Delhi Transport Corporation has been increased from Rs.340 crore to Rs.619 crore to enable it to buy more buses.

The outlay of the Delhi Jal Board has also gone up by Rs.227 crore from Rs.1,365 to Rs.1,592 crore. All these departments have Games-related projects in their hands.

Sources said the Delhi Government would be raising this money from various quarters.
While it would get an additional Rs.1,000 crore for the Games from the Centre, Rs.1,000 crore would be raised through increase in small savings and Rs.500 crore would be given to the Delhi Government by the Centre as compensation for shortfall in VAT collections.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Delhi Commonwealth Games schedule

Registration mandatory for Delhi tour operators

With barely eight months left for the Commonwealth Games, Delhi government has made registration mandatory for travel and tour agents in the city to ensure safety of tourists.

"Lakhs of foreign travellers are expected to visit the capital during the mega event, and registration will streamline the travel operators," a senior Delhi government official said.

With the extravaganza drawing near, several agents have launched new deals to attract domestic and foreign travellers for sightseeing tours in Delhi and nearby states.

The government's move is aimed at cracking down on fly-by-night operators who bring a bad name to the tourism industry by cheating travellers and tourists.

"We want to encourage serious players as well as instill confidence among tourists. Hence, we will allow only license holders to carry out their business. Non-license holders will be strictly dealt with," he said.

This will also help the government access a vast database, creating an avenue for revenue and curbing malpractices.

According to the recent studies and surveys by business chamber, ASSOCHAM, around 10 million international tourists are planning to visit India during the Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast to focus on 2018 CWG bid..!!

Soccer governing body FIFA yesterday announced it would probably only consider bids from European countries to host the 2022 Cup, the snub raising hopes the Federal Government will now abandon its stumbling bid and concentrate on the more realistic attempt to lure the Commonwealth Games to the Gold Coast.

A possible blow to Australia's $45 million bid to host the 2018 soccer World Cup could be good news for the Gold Coast, Queensland with a renewed push to get vital Government funding for the 2018 Commonwealth Games bid.

But it is not all smooth sailing for Queensland's Commonwealth Games bid team, with speculation Geoff Dixon -- the NSW-based chairman of Queensland Events who had been conducting a feasibility study for the Games to come to the Gold Coast - will now be given a bigger role in the World Cup bid process.

In November Mr Dixon was appointed by the Federal Government to assist with the World Cup bid and is now expected to take on a more high-profile role.

"This is good news for our Commonwealth Games bid. It's now full steam ahead and we will be working hard to get everyone on board," she said.

Although Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given his support for the Commonwealth Games bid he has refused to commit any funding. This is because Australia is serious about persuing the FIFA world cup, and can't provide financial backing to 2 major international sports event.

If Australia does continue with a bid for the 2022 World Cup it will be up against the United States, Qatar, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association is due to meet early this year to decide whether an Australian bid for the 2018 games will proceed.

BAM faces cash crunch, makes CWG highest priority

Badminton Association of Malaysia is facing unprecedented cash crunch and hence recommended playes to focus only on big events in 2010. Commonwealth Games to be held in October this year is amongst the most important events as per the association.

Because of the financial constraints, currently the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has only had its budget approved up to the All England tournament in March.

"We have to reduce the allocation for competitions due to budget constraints and the focus should be on the four major events," sports council director general Datuk Zolkples Embong told the New Straits Times newspaper.

There are more than the usual number of big international events this year, with the world championships in Paris in August, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October and November's Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Malaysia also hosts the international men's and women's team events, the Thomas and Uber Cups, in Kuala Lumpur in May and Zolkples said he wanted the top players, most notably men's number one Lee Chong Wei, to focus on winning the major titles.

"Winning gold in the world championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games is the priority and as hosts, we must also do well in the Thomas Cup.".

Commonwealth Games baton to reach Delhi on 30-Sep

The 2010 Commonwealth Organising Committee announced the India schedule of Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) which will pass through the various states and Union territories in the run-up to the quadrennial event starting from October 3.

The baton will arrive in India on June 25 at 1300 hrs through Wagah Border after finishing its Pakistan tour and proceed to Amritsar via road on the same day in the evening," OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi said.

During its 100-day-long programme, the baton will pass through all the states and union territories before finally arriving in Delhi on September 30 at 1100 hrs.

The baton will spend 3-4 days in each state and union territory, during which it will be taken to the different cities and districts. Special attention has been given to the remote and far flung areas where the baton will travel in regards to security and transportation.

The schedule was announced during OC's meeting with the nodal officers of different states and union territories to inform them about the arrival and departure of the relay in their respective cities and arrangements required to be made to ensure baton's smooth run.

Kalmadi, briefing the nodal officers, said that all must work in one direction to make this relay a ceremonious event to showcase India's rich cultural diversity, lifestyle and strong democracy.

Ramjas college protest against land takeover for CWG

Ramjas College faculty members and students held a demonstration on the campus on Thursday in protest against the alleged manner of takeover of college land for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The college had consented in November last to surrendering 865 square metres of land from its premises for widening of roads. Later according to a revised plan, instead of 865 sq. m. the college was asked in January to surrender 112 sq. m. at the Principal’s bungalow premises near Kranti Chowk and 745 sq. m. at Kranti Chowk (which included the parking lot in the college premises) along Sudhir Bose Marg and at Maurice Nagar Chowk.

Work related to road-widening and beautification by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or the Delhi Engineers Ltd will take place in the area. The college authorities received a letter to this effect on January 20. However, before the college authorities received the letter seeking consent, labourers allegedly arrived to carry out work on the Principal’s bungalow premises last December. The bungalow premises are part of the Ramjas College Trust land.

“The Ramjas College Trust has to be consulted before any kind of work can begin on college land. Though a letter seeking consent was received, approval was yet to be granted,” a faculty member said.

The Ramjas College Principal, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, said: “The proposal to surrender 112 sq. m. from the Principal’s residence will mean that the distance between the house windows and the main road would be 14 to 16 feet. Not only this, a number of trees and fauna in the lawn would be destroyed.”

“Also the area that is being asked from the college includes a good portion of the car park,” Dr. Prasad added.

The college has reportedly asked for Rs.13.3 crore as compensation to build underground parking, stilt parking on the ground floor and other structures. Dr. Prasad said: “We have willingly cooperated with preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Not only have we given our sports ground for Games-related construction, rooms in the college hostel too will be available for CWG delegates to stay. Our students are also participating as volunteers for the Games.”

“We have gladly cooperated in the past and wish to continue in the future, but this had to be protested against,” he added.

The road widening work which will reportedly be carried out in the area too has invited disapproval. “What is the point of widening the road? Is it not serviceable enough? There are already enough roads leading to the university grounds where the main event will take place,” associate professor Debraj Mookerjee said.

Political Science Department teacher Tanvir Aeijaz added: “By broadening the road, it will become a thoroughfare and be open to all kinds of vehicular traffic while the idea has always been to maintain a compact university.”

Cops face WC test before Common Wealth Games

The Hockey world cup from February 28 to March 13 will work as security dress rehearsal for the Delhi Police in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games slated for later this year.

13 countries will participate in the tournament. The World cup will also give the traffic police ample opportunity to test their strategy.

Providing dedicated lanes for the officials and athletes on the city's busy roads will be part of the agenda. The world cup venue, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, has already been refurbished and is ready.

"It will give us a great opportunity to test as well as show to the world our preparedness to host the Commonwealth Games. The world cup couldn't have happened at a more opportune time," a Delhi Police officer said.

"Though the number of participants will be less during the world cup in comparison to the Commonwealth Games, but we will press in the same amount of men that we would deploy during the Games. This will help us test and gauge our strength and weaknesses, if any. This will also send the right signals to tourists as well as the participants who will be here during the Games," he added.

Allaying security fears, he added: "We have a good security system in place. We are also going to conduct trials on dedicated lanes for athletes." The lane plan would be first implemented during public holidays to avoid inconveniencing the citizens, Chadha said.

He said the strategy wouldn't trouble the general populace even in real-time. "The opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games are likely to be declared holidays. Schools and colleges will remain closed during the Games," he added.

Queen's baton to arrive in India on 25-June

The 2010 Commonwealth Organising Committee and Thursday announced the India schedule of Queen's Baton Relay. The Commonwealth Games baton will pass through the various states and Union territories in the run-up to the quadrennial event starting from October 3.

The baton will arrive in India on June 25 at 1300 hrs through Wagah Border after finishing its Pakistan tour. The Common Wealth Games (CWG) and proceed to Amritsar via road on the same day in the evening.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hockey WC gets tax waiver

After giving tax breaks to Commonwealth Games, Delhi government has decided to waive off taxes for the Hockey World Cup to be held from February 28- March 13 at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The government has decided to waive off all revenue collected as entertainment and luxury tax from the organisers of the tournament. This will cost the government exchequer Rs 6 crore.

Hockey India representatives had met Delhi Chief Secretary, Rakesh Mehta, earlier this month demanding waiver of entertainment tax on tickets and luxury tax on hotel rooms to be booked for delegates.

Earlier this month, the Delhi cabinet had waived off luxury tax to the tune of Rs 30 crore on hotel rooms booked by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee for athletes, delegates, sport physicians and international mediapersons.

Shera was star of Republic Day parade

’Shera’, the mascot of Common wealth Games 2010 was star attraction at Republic day parade. Shera appeared twice during the Republic Day parade. Around 180 students from Delhi schools presented aerobics and one of them was attired as Shera.

First the Sports Ministry came up with the mascot in its tableau ‘Commonwealth Games’ followed by school children during their performance.

Legendary athletes Milkha Singh and P T Usha, former hockey captain player Zafar Iqbal, badminton player Gopichand Pullela and shooter Samresh Jung were the stars accompanying the Sport Ministry tableau.

Among other major attractions of the 61st Republic Day to be held today were the Main Battle Tank Arjun, the Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System, the Armoured Engineer Recce Vehicle, the Sarvatra Bridge, the Electronic Warfare System, Samyukta, ICV BMP-II Sarath, Ambulance Tracked and ALH Dhruv.

Since New Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games in October this year, the Games mascot "Shera" was the cynosure of all eyes along the eight-kilometer-long parade route in Delhi. A bevy of sportspersons, including boxer Vijender Singh, wrestler Sushil Kumar, weightlifter K Malleshwari, athlete P T Usha, former hockey players Ajitpal Singh and Zafar Iqbal, shooter Samresh Jung, badminton player Gopichand Pullela, swimmer Khajan Singh and veteran Olympian Milkha Singh were the star attractions of the parade.

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The parade commenced by President taking the salute and welcoming the chief guest. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was the chief guest of this year's parade.

The parade was commanded by Lt. General Kanwaljeet Singh Oberoi, General Officer Commanding General Officer Commanding (GOC) is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth (and some other) nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment.

The marching contingents of Army included the horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Brigade of the Guards The Brigade of the Guards is an Indian infantry regiment, the only regiment of Foot Guards in the Indian Army. It was formed in 1949 as the first mixed Indian regiment.

The marching contingents of paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included contingents from the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme. The Camel-mounted band of the Border Security Force will be another attraction.

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Tableau from 21 states and Central Ministries and Departments were present the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country. They also showcased country's progress in different fields.

Notably, Delhi's tableau was missing for fourth straight year.

Nineteen of the 21 children selected for the National Bravery Award - 2009 also participated in the parade. Two children have got the award posthumously.

In the children's pageant section, 750 boys and girls boys and girls drawn from various schools presented dances and other programs.

The grand finale was a spectacular fly-past by the IAF, with the AWACS participating in the Parade for the first time. One IL-78, flanked by two AN-32 and two Dornier, flying in Big Boy formation, led the fly-past.

The ceremony culminated with the National Anthem and release of balloons.


Labour law violation @ Commonwealth Games sites

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government and other civic agencies for violating labour laws at the construction sites for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the central government, Delhi government, Sports Authority of India and all concerned civic agencies to respond by Feb 3.


“You (government) can suggest of constituting a monitoring committee like we have in Asian Games, so that rights of labourers should not be violated,” the bench said.


The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, stating that as many as 49 workers have died due to harsh and miserable working conditions.


“Approximately 415,000 contract daily wage workers are working on these projects for the Commonwealth Games but these workers are treated in contravention of law. These were not paid adequately, no payment for overtime, no compensation if worker dies while working, no identity cards were issued and no safety equipments were given,” the petition states.


“Many of the workers were living in over-crowded hovels, 8 persons to a room, without protection during winter, without electricity and without toilets. The workers who came from Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab were not given the benefits of the Interstate Migrant Workers Act and were totally at the mercy of the contractors,” the petition further reads.

Stringent approach to protect monuments: Sheila Dixit

With heritage monuments in the capital being threatened by encroachments, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today sought new rules to protect them.

She said a more practical view should be taken to solve the problem of encroachments around monuments.

"There are a lot of habitations around monuments which threaten them. New rules should be made to protect them."

Heritage conservation is a priority with the Delhi government and finance is no hurdle, chief minister Sheila Dikshit said Wednesday, adding that new rules should be framed to protect monuments.

"There will be no crunch of finance for the conservation and the preservation of our cultural heritage.” Dikshit said at an event organized by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on Wednesday.

Keeping in mind the Common wealth Games this year, Dikshit said monuments across the city would be given a facelift and lit up.

In an effort to sensitise children to heritage conservation, INTACH has been involving young groups to clean monuments.

"Intach has also spread its wings to the northeastern states and is working towards bringing rural and urban youth together for heritage conservation and preservation,” an Intach official said.

Prasar Bharti to be official CWG broadcaster in India


Parsar Bharti has taken the rights of live telecast of Commonwealth games to be held in New Delhi in October this year for India.


Baljit Singh Lalli, Chief Executive Officer Parsar Bharti said here Wednesday that the rights have been taken for the live telecast on Doordarshan and live transmission on AIR in India only.


He said that Parsar Bharati will have first right of telecasting/transmitting in India for the live coverage of the mega event, he said.


Lalli said that Doordarshan, a public broadcaster of India will switch over to complete digitalization of its terrestrial infrastructure within 8 years.


DD currently has 1435 Analog TV transmitters, with a single TV being broadcast in service in 7 or 8 MHz bandwidth. The broadcaster has been given the mandate of complete digitalization of its terrestrial infrastructure by 2017, he added.


Asked about the improvement of programmes of DD he said “We do not enter any competition with any one and will remain as Public Broadcaster as Parliament has already declared it”. He however admitted that there was scope of improvement in programmes of Doordarshan.


IWF gives go ahead for India to participate in SAF games

The International Weightlifting Federation cleared the deck for Indian lifters' participation in the South Asian Games after the national body paid $50,000 as first installment of the $500,000 fine imposed on it by IWF.

A six-member Indian team will now leave for Dhaka on January 29 to participate in the 11-day competition.

The IWF has imposed the fine on Indian Weightlifting Federation after six of its lifters had flunked dope tests conducted by WADA and NADA in September last year.

"When the fine was imposed on India the SAF Games was knocking at the door, so the Indian federation did not get much time and could only pay first installment," Indian Olympic Association secretary-general Randhir Singh said.

"The international federation has sent letters to their Indian counterpart, IOA, Asian Weightlifting Federation and also the SAF Games authority informing the eligibility criteria of the Indian lifters' in the Dhaka event," he added.

The IWF earlier cracked the whip on the offenders and banned Shailaja Pujari for life, imposed a fine of $5,500 on Vicky Butta and Harbhajan Singh and $5,000 on four other lifters - Rajesh Singh (Madhya Pradesh), Sunita Rani (Punjab), A Vijayadevi (Jharkhand) and Pujari.

"However, in any case the Indian federation has to pay the whole amount of $500,00 before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in order to participate there. Now the Indian federation and the international body will work out the timeframe, number and amounts of installments to be paid," Randhir said.

Sahdev Yadav, secretary-general of the Indian Weightlifting Federation said they will sit with the game's world governing body once the SAF Games is over.

"We have received the letter from the international federation. We paid the first installment to ensure our lifters' participation in the SAF Games," Yadav said.

"After the SAF Games, we will talk to the international body regarding the number of installments, amount and the time-frame," he added.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

CGF offers apology for incorrect map of India

The Commonwealth Games Federation has apologized for showing some of Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir as parts of Pakistan.

The CGF was embroiled in a controversy because of a distorted India map put on its website earlier on Tuesday.

The map of India on http://www.thecgf.com/ showed some areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat as parts of Pakistan as organisers of the 2010 Commonwealth Games said they raised the issue with CGF officials.

CGF website shows incorrect map of India
"It was a mistake and we apologise for it," CGF CEO Mike Hooper said. Hooper said the goof-up (blunder) was entirely unintentional. "It was not intentional but we have rectified the matter immediately. And we certainly apologise to all concerned," Hooper said.

Currently, CGF website shows map of the countries from http://maps.google.com/. Here is the latest snapshot of map of India which shows international borders between India and Pakistan. Also, the area of J&K that is disputed is shown with dotted lines.

"We generally use reliable sources for the territory of the Commonwealth countries but we are going to double check all of those again," said the CGF official.

The earlier link, where the incorrect map was shown (http://www.thecgf.com/countries/) has been redirected to show the list of all Commonwealth countries.

Want more.. get less..!!

Planning Commission has turned down tourism ministry's demand for an additional Rs 50 crore for overseas promotion of Commonwealth Games and has instead cut down its budget. The ministry had asked for a hike of Rs 50 crore for special promotion keeping in view the forthcoming Games but is now faced with a budget cut of Rs 50 crore.

The lack of coordinated publicity before a high profile sporting event could end up damaging the whole purpose of hosting the Games and pitching India as a tourist destination, the ministry feels. The ministry's budget was Rs 1,000 crore for 2009-2010. Of this, Rs 250 crore was allocated for overseas marketing and promotion while Rs 60 crore was left for domestic promotion. "Plan panel has not only rejected our demand for more funds but also cut our budget from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 950 crore," a source said.

Commonwealth Games Federation website shows incorrect map of India

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) was embroiled in a controversy today because of a distorted India map put on its website. India is the host country for 2010 (Commonwealth Games) CWG to be held in October.

 
At the time of publishing this post, we have taken a snapshot of map of India and Pakistan from Commonwealth Games Federation's website,  http://www.thecgf.com/countries/ and have posted the same here (Please note that we do not endorse the map shown here).
  
The map of India on Commonwealth Games Federation's website shows some areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat as parts of Pakistan and organisers of the 2010 Commonwealth Games today said they have raised the issue with CGF officials.

"We have noticed it and told CGF officials about it. They have promised to revert back to us on the issue," Organising Committee secretary Lalit Bhanot said.

"They would definitely correct it. We were told that they would talk to the people who maintain the site and get back to us," added Bhanot.

The CGF Chief executive Officer Mike Hooper, who is based in New Delhi to oversee the preparations of the Commonwealth Games (CWG), could not be immediately reached for his comments.


Read the latest article about CGF's apology.


Monday, 25 January 2010

Yamuna to get GREEN makeover

While Union Sports minister M S Gill last week said the Yamuna is so dirty that foreign visitors should be kept away from the river during the Commonwealth Games, plans are afoot to make the riverbed a tourist-friendly zone — keeping in mind environmental issues.

Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna said there are plans to make concentric layers or sub-zones on the riverbed. He said, “The peripheral layer will allow recreational activities for visitors, like picnics.”

Khanna heads the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which plans land-use of the area.

Maintaining too much construction on the riverbed will not be entertained, Khanna told Newsline that DDA already has a plan in place by which this can be done.

Khanna chaired a high-level meeting last week in which feasibility and implementation of the plan had been discussed. “There will be three layers on the riverbed,” he said. “At the heart of the riverbed, alongside Yamuna, will be a biodiversity zone. There will be no construction here, and visitors will not be allowed to enter. The next layer will be the ‘interactive zone’ — while heavily forested, people will be allowed to enter this area.

Common Wealth Games tableau not an original work of art..!!

A Delhi based Tableaux designer Pralay Kumar Mukherjee has alleged that the Common wealth Games (CWG) jhanki (tableau), set to be on Rajpath tomorrow, is a copy of his design. “I had submitted three models while pitching for the CWG tableau. They have now used a mixture of those designs on their own and turned it into a tableau costing Rs 1 crore,” says Mukherjee who has now approached the high court.

Lalit Bhanot, Games organising committee secretary-general, denied, “It is wrong to say that any designs were copied. Mukhejee submitted the designs but they were not selected by the defence ministry, which approves the tableaux designs.”

With the Delhi tableau missing altogether and now CWG tableau marred by controversies, the issue is not going down well with Delhiites, eagerly awaiting the Republic Day parade.

Aniniditi Sharma, a student of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies says, “It is sad that the Capital does not have its own jhanki at the Republic Day parade this year again. Delhi needs to buck up.”

Tarun Gupta, an IT Professional says, “First Delhi goes missing, and now the Commonwealth Games jhanki turns out to be a copycat. This is embarrasing for the city’


Click here to read articles on "Commonwealth Games' Republic Day tableau.


Fiji still hopeful of participating in Commonwealth Games

Fiji'S fate of participating at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be known by the end of March.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last year ruled against Fiji's participation at the Delhi Games in October.

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president Vidhya Lakhan said they had lodged an appeal earlier this year with the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"We have opted to have three member panel rather than one person tribunal and in that we have nominated a QC from New Zealand as our representative," he said.

"The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will be asked to nominate a representative and CAS itself will appoint a third member, who I suspect will be the chairperson."

Lakhan said the CGF had been given a month to respond to FASANOC's claims and hoped a decision would be made by March.

"Our appeal is based on the fact that in our view, the CGF has erred in the interpretation and application of its own constitution.

"The CGF constitution very clearly says the athletes of countries who are members of Common-wealth can take part in the Commonwealth Games.

"We have read in communiquÚs and press release from Commonwealth Secretariat and they have said whilst Fiji remains in the Commonwealth they cannot take part in the Commonwealth Games."

Lakhan said the Commonwealth Secret-ariat has confirmed that Fiji is still in the Commonwealth.

"Our argument is that if Fiji is still in the Commonwealth then in accordance with the CGF constitution our athletes should be allowed to take part in the Commonwealth Games."

Lakhan said the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly has not taken any decision on either to expel or suspend Fiji from the CGF.

"The only thing they are doing is taking the decision of the Commonwealth Secretariat and telling us we cannot take part.

"As far we know the CGF General Assembly has not voted on that (expel or suspend Fiji from the CGF).

"The ruling of CAS is final. If CAS says you can't take part in the Delhi Games then that's it.

"But if they agree with interpretation of the constitution then we are hoping the ruling will be that we can take part and we will."

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Visa on arrival for tourists @ $60 per person

With the aim of attracting more tourists during the Commonwealth Games (CWG), government has decided to issue Visa on arrival for tourists from Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore. The charges have been fixed at $60 (USD) per person for the grant of Visa-on-Arrival scheme.

"Though we have sought more countries to be included in the scheme, these five countries are being granted the Visa-on-Arrival facility as a pilot project starting January. Depending upon the response, more countries are likely to be included later on," a senior official of the Tourism Ministry said.

While around 93,000 Singaporeans visited India in 2007, the number increased to 100,351 in 2008.
From New Zealand 30,266 tourists came in 2008 against 27,498 in 2007.

Arrivals from Japan also registered a growth in the last two years. India received 150,732 Japanese tourists in 2008 against 145,538 in the previous year.

The visa on arrival scheme is expected to further increase the inflow of tourists especially from New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. This is also crucial for the success of Delhi Commonwealth Games to be held in Oct this year.

Team India for 2010 Commonwealth Shooting Championships

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has announced the Indian teams for the Commonwealth shooting championship to be held at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, from February 17 to 28.

Though it will be a dress rehearsal for the Commonwealth Games (CWG 2010) to be staged in October, the shooting event may not reflect the true strength of India, as some of the leading shooters do not figure in the team

The release from NRAI also confirmed the participation, of a 17-member team from England, in the championship that will feature rifle, pistol and shotgun events for men and women.

The teams:

Men Rifle: Sanjeev Rajput, Gagan Narang, Imran Hasan Khan, Joydeep Karmakar, Sushil Ghaley and P. T. Raghunath.

Men Pistol: Viraj Singh, Bapu Vanzare, Amanpreet Singh, Vijay Kumar, Pemba Tamang, Gurpreet Singh, Mahender Singh, Samaresh Jung, Zakir Khan and Omkar Singh.

Men Shotgun: Men: Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Birnedeep Sodhi, Anirudh Singh, Vikram Bhatnagar, Mohammed Asab, Ajay Mittal, Mairaj Ahmed Khan, Arozepal Singh and P. P. Singh.

Women Rifle: Tejaswini Sawant, Lajja Gauswami, Meena Kumar, Birmati, Priya Aggarwal, Neha Sapte and Ayonika Paul.

Women Pistol: Anisa Sayeed, Annuraj Singh, Rahi Sarnobat, Shweta Chaudhary and Pushpanjali Rana.

Women Shotgun: Shagun Chowdhary, Seema Tomar, Shreyasi Singh, Arti Singh and Rashmee Rathore

Notable absentees: Abhinav Bindra, Shotgun marksmen Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ronjan Sodhi, Mansher Singh, Anwer Sultan, Zorawar Singh; Rifle shooters Suma Shirur, Avneet Kaur; and Pistol shooters Harveen Srao and Heena Sidhu.

Incomplete hotels to loose out of tax holiday...!!

Major hospitality chains planning to open properties in the national capital region (NCR) before the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in October could lose out on the five-year tax holiday benefit if they are not able to throw open the entire room inventory before the sporting extravaganza.

According to tourism secretary Sujit Banerjee, the ministry would oppose full tax holiday to companies not closing projects on time. “How can hotels open partially and yet get the tax-holiday. They will have to come to us for registration and classification, and we will not allow such a thing”.

A host of hospitality majors, domestic and foreign including the Taj Group, InterContinental, Hilton, Starwood Hotels and Resorts have projects in the pipeline, which are slated for launch before the Commonwealth Games. While InterContinental group plans to open its Crowne Plaza in New Delhi before the Games, its two other properties would be operational in 2010 but not necessarily before the CWG.

“By opening partially, hotels will not only gain the benefit of the five-year tax holiday (except for five-star properties which are outside the ambit of the scheme), but will also get their licences fast as the ministry is under immense pressure to get the required rooms ready,” said a hospitality consultant on the condition of anonymity. The tourism ministry is also pushing for an extension of the tax-holiday till July 2010 from the earlier March deadline (Click here to read previous report).

According to market estimates, only 50% of the total proposed room inventory will be ready before the Games. Though some hotel majors maintain they will launch full operations of their properties, sector analysts and experts are of the opinion that ground realities are different and as projects are met with delays, owners are planning to go for only partial openings.

Shera to be star attraction during Republic Day parade

2010 Commonwealth Games OC will get a chance to promote the games during Republic Day parade in Delhi. 2010 Commonwealth Games will have its own tableau taking part in the parade on 26-Jan.

Delhi Commonwealth Games tableau has been prepared at a cost of Rs 1 crore.

With background music by Javed Akhtar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Shera is the star attraction. Top athletes of the country, led by Zafar Iqbal, captain of the World Cup hockey squad, and others like Sushil Kumar and PT Usha will take podium position atop the Shera tableau.

While Shera, adorning vibrant colour palette, will be one of the major attractions at the parade, Olympian grappler Sushil Kumar, weightlifter K Malleswari, former runners P T Usha and Milkha Singh, shooter Samresh Juang, ex-badminton player Pullela Gopichand and hockey player Ajit Pal Singh also would be present on the tableau.

The LED screens on either sides of the tableau will display the film combining major sporting events, their medal winners and the snapshots of various games.

The tableau has been made of all recycled eco-friendly material and will emphasises on the various aspects of Green Games.

Shera reminds us of the fragile environment he lives in and our responsibility towards protecting the delicate ecological balance. Then there is Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium's spectacular structure and a globe aptly positioned in the middle of the stadium, made up of recycled paper." Surrounded by LED screens on either sides as well as 25 volunteers of the Games, the tableau is being pitched as a representation of the Green Games.

Click here to read articles on "Commonwealth Games' Republic Day tableau.

National Hockey stadium to be opened today

The Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium will be open on 24-Jan by sports Minster M.S Gill. The National hockey stadium named after India's hockey legend, has been remodeled and reconstructed to host 12th Hockey World Cup, and also to host 2010 Commonwealth Games later this year.

It will be the first stadium among the various Commonwealth Games 2010 venues in the capital to be opened. Delhi is slated to host the Games in October this year.

The new-look stadium spread over 37 acres, has been completely renovated and upgraded for the Commonwealth Games at a cost of Rs 262 crore and will the venue for hockey.

Before the Commonwealth Games, the stadium will be the venue of the XII World Cup Hockey from February 28 to March 13.

The stadium has three synthetic hockey pitches, two conforming to international match standards and one a practice facility. It has new poly grass turf, fitted with sprinkler systems.

Its main field has a seating capacity of 16,200. The second pitch outside the main arena has 900 permanent seats and with a provision of 1600 temporary seats.

The stadium has hinged mast lights to provide 2200 lux illumination and is equipped with a state-of-the-art acoustic system. It has two scoreboards.

The entire stadium is centrally air-conditioned and fitted with lifts and barrier-free provisions. It has facilities for players such as changing rooms, relaxing lounges and VVIP lounge. It is equipped with electronic surveillance through fixed and PTZ cameras connected to central control room, which will have integrated network for connecting various facilities, to meet the operational requirement of various tournaments. The stadium where Commonwealth Games will be held, also has a two-tier underground parking facility in addition to open area parking facilities.


According to an official press release, the stadium has got power supply from two grids with a back-up based on generator sets and battery uninterrupted power supply to ensure that power failure never disrupts the games.


Among other things, the stadium will have a walk-through museum displaying portraits of hockey legends, their dresses and other artefacts related to India's position in the world of hockey.


The release said care had been taken, during the renovation, not to cause any alteration or disturbance to the heritage portion of the stadium facing the India Gate, whereas the Yamuna side of the stadium has been completely renovated on three sides, as earlier it was based on earth mound. The entire new construction has been done in a manner to merge with the old heritage structure.


The stadium was originally built in 1933 as an amphitheatre and was named as Irwin amphitheatre. It was renovated for First Asian Games held in 1951 and also for the 1982 Asian Games.

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